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Pine Barrens Wapato
Pine Barrens Wapato
Pine Barrens Wapato

Pine Barrens Wapato

Regular price $3.25 Sale

Sagittaria engelmanniana 

20 seeds minimum 

*Germination test inconclusive (no germination under lab conditions). Sagittaria seeds often have double dormancy, meaning they require two winters of cold moist stratification in order to germinate. You might want to try sprinkling these seeds on the edge of a pond or burying them in shallow mud. Or you could try them in a damp medium (sand, peat, vermiculite, soil, etc) in a sealed bag, kept in a refrigerator for a few months, then out of the fridge for the summer, then back in next winter. This is complicated, but we believe these are awesome plants well worth trying. However, we can put no guarantees on these seeds. Buy at your risk.

Origin: New Jersey Pine Barrens

EFN EXCLUSIVE. Wapato, or "duck potato," is a much-discussed but seldom-actually-tasted native aquatic wild edible. It is rarely eaten because it has become rather hard to find, in addition to being easily confused with another "arrowhead" plant, the poor-tasting Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica). Indigenous peoples traditionally harvest duck potatoes by dislodging them from the mud with their toes, then plucking them off the surface of the water since the unattached tubers float! The tubers — technically corms — are best cooked before eating. Some wapato tubers grow to the size if chicken eggs, while these are typically about the size of chestnuts. They can be dried or powdered for use over the long winter. The young tender leaves are also edible, along with the flower buds and fruit. Wapato is an old Cree or Ojibwe word whose etymology has been lost to history, but the name is now applied to a few species in the genus Sagittaria, most commonly S. latifolia and S. cuneata. But in our neck of the woods, it is also used to describe this species, S. engelmanniana, known in English as "Englemann's Arrowhead" or "Acid-water Arrowhead." It is typified by especially slender leaves and a tendency to grow well in acidic water, like sphagnum bogs, or the slow-moving, tannin-rich water of New Jersey's Pine Barrens. But it will thrive in shallow water in most ponds, creeks, rivers, or canals, provided it receives enough sun. Arrowhead plants like this one are often grown as ornamentals in private ponds, even small fishponds, for their graceful leaves and tall, beautiful flower spikes. Our ever-growing patch (shown in the photo above) started with just a few corms transplanted from a wild population found on private land in the Pine Barrens, not far from Hammonton, NJ. As far as we know, we are the only seed outfit ever to offer seeds of this species for sale. If you live in its native range, this is a great candidate for "guerilla gardening" (meaning get some seedlings started and plant them in a favorite local spot where they will thrive and become a resource for you and future generations)!